Archive for the british Category

The Snake Corps

Posted in 1980s, british, coldwave, dreampop, post-punk, sad lovers and giants, shoegaze, snake corps on August 28, 2007 by Frankie Teardrop

The Snake Corps formed in 1984 after the original demise of British psychedelic post-punk act Sad Lovers & Giants. In the wake of the band’s split, guitarist Tristan Garel-Funk formed a new five-piece unit, collecting a few more like minded-fellows, and set out under this new name.

The band was not unlike it’s predecessor, exploring a dreamy, atmospheric soundscape alongside a driving post-punk edge. The band would tour heavily outside of the UK, developing a slight cult following for their curious blend of dreamy effects and hard punk rhthyms. The band, though hard-working, had a very distanced approach to their affairs and had alienated the British record industry, rejecting potential superstardom as a new shoegaze movement was taking hold of Britain towards the end of the decade.

The band would take a hiatus around 1990 after recording a handful of poorly distributed records, never quite achieving the success or recognition as many of their contemporaries would shortly. In 1993, a long-since recorded final record hit the market alongside a career retrospective, but though a bit of buzz was finally on their side, members of the band had already parted for keeps and the band officially called it a day.

I’ve uploaded two tracks by the Snake Corps for your downloading pleasure. The first, ‘Animals All’ hails from their debut record, 1985’s Flesh on Flesh. The second song, ‘Seagull’s Eye’ is a more catchy number, featured as the opening track on 1990’s Smother Earth.

download Snake Corps- ‘Animals All’
download Snake Corps- ‘Seagull’s Eye’

for further information on the band:
Official Snake Corps website– for a full discography, images, videos, and more!

Modern English

Posted in 1980s, 4ad, british, modern english, post-punk, wave on August 15, 2007 by Frankie Teardrop

Today’s band is one that became a household name in the mid-1980s based on a one-off hit, but hasn’t made any commercial impact since, lost in the hearts of 80s nostalgia and easily dismissed as a one-hit wonder. Truth is that today’s band, Modern English, were more than capable of writing a myriad of other amazing songs, and a handful of seminal records in an emerging post-punk scene, even if they went mostly ignored by all but the impassioned.

This Essex-based band originally began in 1977, originally christened the Lepers. The band released a one-off single before changing their name to Modern English and signing to a budding 4AD records, the band being the first that Ivo Watts-Russel approached after creating the label. Both stylistically, and commercially, Modern English helped put the label on the map.

Musically, the band originally drew heavily from the doom and gloom of fellow contemporaries Joy Division and Bauhaus, a rude awakening for fans who stumbled across them after the perfect pop song ‘I Melt With You from their 1982 sophomore record, After the Snow.

Pressured after such a large success, the band fell apart after one more record, two of the original members departing for greener pastures, but instead of a side-project, the band revamped and kept pushing forward, occasionally releasing records into the 90s. Though they remained a college favorite, the band never again broke the US or UK charts. Despite sporadic output, Modern English remain together to this day, playing gigs from time to time. The band has a new recording contract with A.P.G. as of 2001, but there’s no clear word as to when to expect new material.

I’ve uploaded a handful of tracks from their debut record, 1981’s Mesh & Lace. The first was also their second single, while the second is a deeper cut and favorite from the record. Here they are, for your listening enjoyment:

download Modern English- ‘Gathering Dust’
download Modern English- ‘A Viable Commercial’

and for a nice dose of 80s nostalgia, here’s what seems to be the official video for ‘I Melt With You.’ Let’s hear it for the M&Ms theme song, ladies and gentlemen:

and if you want to toss some bucks around and pick up some of their records, here’s an Amazon link, which though some of their earlier material is out of print, still features a few used copies:

Purchase Modern English tunes on

Testcard F

Posted in 1980s, british, minimal, synth, synthpunk, testcard f, wave on August 9, 2007 by Frankie Teardrop

Today’s band, Testcard F, has so little recorded output that I almost considered tossing it all at you, but that would take all the fun out of hunting it down and savoring it, wouldn’t it?

In fact, there’s not only just two singles and a John Peel recording available, there’s very little information to be found about this British band, aside from a few bits and bobs:

The band formed in 1981, and reconstructed and built their own synthesizers. Unlike some synth-punk and minimal wave acts of the time, this band near-completely utilized electronic instruments, drum machines, and backing tapes; the only organic instrumentation appearing in the form of trash cans, coat racks, and other assorted debris. Oftentimes, their live performances would be slagged viciously by heckling attendees, anxious for guitars. One particular gig in their hometown of Norwich ended in a small riot.

The band split immediately on the brink of success after winning a Norwich battle of the bands and recording their two singles and Peel Session in 1984.

I’ve uploaded their b-sides, both tracks which I enjoy more than their respective flip. The first, ‘Unfamiliar Room’ is a particular favorite of mine, featured on the Bandwagon Tango 7” and the second the b-side of the Third Stroke 7”. If anyone is anxious for the remaining a-sides and Peel recordings, drop a line and I’ll happily upload the rest.

download Testcard F- ‘Unfamiliar Room’
download Testcard F- ‘If Only it Wasn’t’

…and sadly, I have no photos, youtube clips, or homepages for you today, and naturally since their material is so far out of print, if you manage to come in cahoots with either of these vinyl singles, snap them up in a heartbeat!

Colin Newman

Posted in 1980s, art-punk, british, colin newman, synth, wave, wire on August 7, 2007 by Frankie Teardrop

Having gone though rather huge phases listening to nothing but post-punk greats Wire for a few days in a row, it’s no shock that I’ve also inspected and been overjoyed with the various side projects and solo outings during the band’s off-time. Today’s artist is one of the double frontmen of Wire and the primary tunesmith, Mr. Colin Newman.

When the British band temporarily split in 1980 after three records, Colin quickly pursued a solo career, taking the art-damaged direction that Wire had experimented with on both Chairs Missing and 154. The result didn’t fall far from the tree, for Colin recorded a series of three records in a similar art-pop style. The first, 1980’s A-Z, was released on Beggar’s Banquet and featured ‘Alone,’ a haunting track tapped near-ten years later for the soundtrack to Silence of the Lambs and covered by friends in 4AD project This Mortal Coil. Both 1981’s Provisionally Entitled the Singing Fish and 1982’s Not To were released on 4AD, once they were able to properly finance Newman’s recordings. The first featured instrumental tracks as a series of numbered fish while the second consisted of new recordings and reworked Wire outtakes.

Though Wire reformed in 1984 and has remained intermittently active since, Colin released three more solo records and an EP for various labels. The last, 1997’s Bastard was a largely collective and collaborative electronic outing. Over the years, Colin has also produced records for the Virgin Prunes and Minimal Compact, produced recorded full-lengths with Wire as well as longtime collaborator and wife Malka Spigel, managed Wire’s Pinkflag label, and also done double-duty as a member of Githead, an experimental rock outfit.

I’ve uploaded two solo Newman tracks for the downloading; ‘Alone’ from A-Z and ‘Don’t Bring Reminders’ from Not To.

download Colin Newman- ‘Alone’
download Colin Newman- ‘Don’t Bring Reminders’

Most of his solo and collaborative band material is easily available through Amazon and your local record shoppes, so pick some up if you’re into it! For a more thorough biography and discography on Colin, click this link:

Colin Newman web-hub
Colin Newman via 4AD